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What Is A Micro-task?
Micro-tasks are very small paid tasks that can be completed online from the comfort of your own home. These are tasks that require a humans judgement and as such cannot be carried out by a robot or programme. Usually, several Micro-tasks are required as pieces in a large overarching program. They are most commonly performed by freelancers. Micro-tasks are quick and easy to do. You can do multiple in the span of a few hours in some cases. They can be done by anyone. The main issue with them is that they don’t pay very well.
Benefits of Micro-tasks
Micro-tasks offer a whole host of benefits that make that suitable for the average user. These include:
- No startup costs: These jobs require the absolute bare minimum in terms of equipment, usually just a working computer and a warm body to operate it. This makes it really easy to jump in and start completing them.
- No interviews: Interviews can be extremely stressful and presenting your best self is hard for most people. If you can’t handle being interviewed, micro-tasks might be the best place for you to look.
- No experience or very little experience: With micro-tasks you are often a small cog in an incredibly large machine. You will be one of many hundreds of people carrying out the same role. Because micro-tasks require a large number of people, the bar for entry is very low.
Disadvantages of Micro-tasks
Micro-tasks do have a few disadvantages as well that you need to be wary of. These include:
- Low pay: The tasks required are a low skill and require only a small amount of time to complete, this means that companies are not willing to pay that much for them since there are so many people willing to do the work. This means they can never be your main source of income and instead must be incorporated into your moments of free time.
- Scam sites are prevalent: One has to be wary when dealing with micro-tasks sites as there is a chance that you may run into an illegitimate site. Thankfully there are lists online from trusted sources that outline which sites are legitimate and good to do work for.
- Most jobs are incredibly boring: Due to the mundane and repetitive nature of these micro-tasks, it is important to realise that you won’t be mentally stimulated from this work. It can be incredibly dull doing the same thing over and over so make sure you pace yourself or have something going on in the background like some music.
Types of Micro-tasks
There are many types of micro-tasks including:
- Online tasks
- Real-world tasks
- Website usability tests
- Online services marketplace
- Reward programmes
Completed entirely online, they are usually advertised on micro job websites to find people in search of the tasks. Amazon Mechanical Turk is the best example of a site offering micro-tasks, the tasks must be done by actual people, not computers. Other sites like Fiverr are a reliable place to find micro-tasks. These involve roles like data entry, categorisation, and simple problem-solving.
These are the same as online tasks but are not completed online, they are completed in person. These tasks are still promoted online on sites such as Task Rabbit which shows offers for both online and real-world tasks.
Crowdsourcing projects: this type of task is when larger companies offer their smaller tasks as micro-tasks, in a large project there are small parts of the project which can be done as micro tasks and workers can log on to the websites of larger companies and choose from a list of micro-tasks. Clickworker is a useful site that uses crowdsourcing for micro-tasks. These can range from tasks like cleaning up after events and packaging products.
Website usability tests:
This micro-task involves people testing out websites and apps for money, they will usually use screen recordings. The purpose of these exercises is to determine the user-friendliness and efficiency of a site or app. By performing common tasks that a standard user would perform on the first visit companies can accurately assess their sites and make necessary changes. This can also involve bug testing and proofreading.
Surveys are a very common micro-task which involves people filling out surveys for a small amount of money, but if one completes multiple surveys a day it can generate more money. These are needed by advertising and marketing companies to gauge public opinion. These companies then use this data to plan out their campaigns and how to appeal to certain demographics. Often these companies have multiple surveys on offer to fill out so there’s no shortage of work available. There are also focus groups that you can join, these require additional effort on your part but pay much more.
Online services marketplace:
People can offer small services (microtasks) for a small price and buyers can search for people offering these small services that they are in need of. Many sites like Fiverr and Craigslist have users posting jobs that you can pick up and complete. The amount you earn and the task you are performing is based entirely on the person submitting the job. As such the services you are performing are wildly varied and inconsistent. If you are up to the task there is a fair amount of money to be made.
Not all sites exchange micro-tasks for money but some for products or rewards. These come in the form of vouchers, reward points, and various other discounts. Some services even pay in bitcoin. Depending on what company is offering the job these rewards can be either great for you or completely worthless. Be careful when choosing surveys to fill out and make sure you what you’re being paid in.
In general micro jobs do not offer a large enough amount of money to get by but they are tasks that take such little time so many of them can be done in one day, especially if they are online tasks as you may not need to leave your home! In order to make the most money out of micro-tasks, you will need to be time-efficient and complete as many micro tasks as you can.